Great white encounter by John Little

Kirk Spilsbury, Dave Packer, and l were shore diving at Leven Point on 11 february 2000.

We entered the water in line with the sanctuary beacon around 06:00 and all went our seperate ways. I headed straight for the outside edge of the shallow reef in 25foot where we had got a lot of cuda the day before whilst boat diving. The current was north to south and the viz was 30+ foot. I was drifting along with the current when l saw a cuda swimming along the bottom coming from the other way. I about-faced and saw that dave and kirk were 100m+ up current on the same drift. I had been looking away from the reef over the sand, and as l turned back l saw grey coming into my line of vision and then made out a set of very big gill slits that were right by my head. I got a huge fright and jerked back which startled the shark. He bolted away and down from me and then did an about turn and swam up towards me. I recognized the shark as a white of probably 4m that seemed a lot bigger at the time. I quickly loaded a powerhead and shot it on the top of the snout as it came up towards me. The powerhead did not go off but the shark turned and swam straight out to sea. I was pretty scared and waited for kirk and dave to catch up. We decided to continue the drift but stay close together. Another two divers, Ryan van der Merwe and Dan Owens were also shore diving. They did another drift after being told of the white. They both got some fish on the second drift but Dan was pulled backwards while swimming through the waves on his way to the beach and had all his catch taken.